• The Early Years part 2, 1970-72

    Although David’s rig was pretty basic during his first five years with Pink Floyd, both his tone and technique played a significant role in shaping the band’s sound after Syd’s departure. In this second part of the article we’ll look at David’s guitars, amps and effects between 1970-1972 and how he’s playing and tone evolved.

    After Syd’s departure in early 1968 Pink Floyd struggled to free themselves from the psychedelia label. It was also a struggle to maintain some level of creativity without their former songwriter. While 1968-69 was a period of trying to find his place in the band, the years between 1970-72 saw David experimenting a lot more both with his tone and different gear.

    Please note…
    The article includes YouTube clips. Please allow a couple of seconds for them to load. You may need to refresh your browser if you’re experiencing any problems.

    Don’t forget Early Years part 1!


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40 Responsesso far.

  1. tim says:

    hey bjorn great job again.
    is there a longer video of The piece Corrosion. i have only seen the small one on youtube.is there a video of the hole song

    [Thanks! I only found this version… – Bjorn]

  2. Franck Machu says:

    Hello Bjorn,
    Do you know one site where it is possible to download the 72 Careful video and the french TV “Corrosion” video ?
    You put the links on You Tube but it is a lot better to have them on DVD and to look at them on a good HiFi and Video system.

    [Try this site. You’ll find lots of cool stuff. – Bjorn]

  3. Pinkfloydfan1 says:

    please please write an article on davids set up and playing from the atom heart mother tour …. right up to the recording sesions to atom heart mother goes on the road … and now davids latest up and comming performance..

    that is just incredible

    please write an article.

    [Well, I kind of… although briefly… touched the subject in this article :) – Bjorn]

  4. William says:

    There was a lot of good music in the post Barrett era for examlpe “Echoes”. This is when they found their feet post Syd Barrett and took off toward their Dark Side success.

  5. Franck Machu says:

    I finally got time to read this highly expected new article. I wanted to read it into detail, not quickly. Your work is so accurate, concentrated, focused, that it requires such similar reading from us. Congratulations indeed ! It is like I expected. Everything is clearer and clearer. Thanks for your deep and proven analysis. I know now which bootlegs I miss. I have to search them urgently ! One day, your work will have to be published in a high quality book. It is like a puzzle that you build step by step, from one era to the next one.
    I wanted to notice the beginning title “from psychedelia to art rock”. I don’t know if you found “art rock” yourself or if you pick it up from someone else but this too words are perfectly sumarizing the Floyd music from this “post-Syd-early-years” era. I previously liked “space rock” or “gliding rock” but it reduces their music to one style. They were transcending opposite music styles. They succeeded to make bridges between the Hendrix extraterrestrial blues, the Keith Jarrett jazz, the “avantgarde” experimental music, and succeeded to be in the same time very simple and accessible to the widest audience. This definitely deserves the term “art rock”.

    I wanted also to thank you for your videos. It is a pleasure and an honour to see you playing and revealing your finger tricks. I have a lot work to do on my side.

    Please keep being nutty !!

    [Thanks for your kind words Franck! Glad you enjoy the article and the site. The term “art rock” was often used on bands like Genesis, Yes, Gong etc in the early 70’s and now on bands like No-Man, David Sylvian etc. I think the term describes a more intellectual kind of music that often appeals to students and educated people and not so much the average rock listener who chose Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin etc. Of course as the art rock bands grew bigger and more popular they too became music for the masses. – Bjorn]

  6. Evan says:

    “I have built a replcia of Syd’s telecaster , David’s “Blickie” and Rogers black bass.”

    I’d love to see some pics of that Tele, man. I’ve always wanted to do that, build myself a copy of Syd’s…

  7. Lucas says:

    @Mike: there are two internal trimpots to control the modulation parametres on this pedal, as far as I’ve heard.

  8. William says:

    I’m strap for cash would a Squier by Fender strat be a good starting point for a new David Gilmour replica start, I stupidly sold my old one to buy a Martin D35. Any Comments are welcome

    [It’s a good start. You can also check out used Mexico Fenders for about the same price and you’ll get a better guitar. – Bjorn]

  9. William says:

    If it was not for David and Syd I would never have picked a guitar so i base my sound around David’s and Syd’s sound during his time with Pink Floyd. I would’nt play bass if it was not for Roger, I have built a replcia of Syd’s telecaster , David’s “Blickie” and Rogers black bass. Thank You David and Syd for making me want to take up the guitar.

  10. William says:

    Are the Pink Floyd reunion tour for 2009 rumours true?

    [There are always rumours. – Bjorn]

  11. Evan says:

    Ah, thanks for that Bjorn. I found out just after I posted that that the MIG-50 is a 2-channel amp (well, two input amp at least): the “High” input is the JCM800, and the “Low” input is apparently a Fender Bassman. So I should be doubly insured, right?

    I might be going to get my blues driver today, but I have a question for anyone who’ll listen:


    It was just given to me by my dad’s friend, and it apparently isn’t made anymore. I’d try it myself, but the jacks are shorted out and kinda hard to get working. So until I fix it, well, has anyone had a chance to try it? Can someone give me a decent idea of what it sounds like?

  12. Evan says:

    Bjorn, in your opinion, can passable Gilmour tones be accomplished on a clean Marshall amp?

    I bring it up because, well, though I may not be able to get myself a HiWatt or a Sound City, or even a high-wattage Fender, I’ve stumbled across the Sovtek MIG amps. The MIG-50 in particular, since I sure as hell won’t need a 100 or anything. It’s supposed to be a straight clone of a Marshall JCM800, which is supposed to be a pretty good amp.

    Since my focus isn’t solely Gilmour, I think it’d be a good choice, a versatile high-wattage amp. However, if I need them, could I get Gilmour tones from it?

    [I think you should be able to get a very nice tone. The JCM800 has a bit more mid range than the Hiwatts/Sound Citys and a bit brighter tone but our rhythm guitarist has one and I’ve gotten great tones with it. – Bjorn]

  13. Mike says:

    Hey Bjorn, the Carbon Copy came today. I’ve only had about a half an hour of time to spend with it so far, but I love it! Beautiful, warm analog delay, great self-oscillation and it’s dead silent. I also should mention that the sparkle green finish looks really, really cool in person and the blue LEDs are definitely bright enough for any live situation.

    The modulation is quite subtle, which is really the only complaint I’ve heard from people about the unit so far. I leave the mod switch on most of the time, because although it’s subtle it adds a nice little touch to the tone. I haven’t adjusted the trim-pot yet though.

    It seems like MXR/Dunlop have gotten it together and are putting out some great pedals now. Good to see.

    [Thanks for the review Mike! – Bjorn]

  14. Joshua M says:

    Great article.
    Above these responses, i read this “Copyright: gilmourish.com 2006”
    pretty remarkable ;)

    Nice youtube vids, btw


    [Oh… Thanks! I’ve fixed it now. It should be 2003-2008. – Bjorn]

  15. Evan says:

    Yeah, man, that’d be pretty killer…dunno if David would warm up to it, but it’d be amazing if it were to happen…

    Couple things of interest, Bjorn. Squier’s just gone and put out a new series of guitars, called the “Classic Vibe” series. One 50s style Tele (with a PINE body!), two Strats (50s and 60s types), and a reissue of the Fender Duo-Sonic. Something to add to your Budget Rig guide, maybe. Check them out if you have the chance.

    Also, I’ve yet to get that BD-2: some guy’s trying them out for a while, and odds are he’ll buy it. So, I’ve gotta keep looking I guess.

    As always, love your articles. I enjoyed this one particularly, really great work. Any additional info I can find on Pompeii, the better…

    [Thanks Evan for your kind words and the tips! Cheers! – Bjorn]

  16. Paul_C says:


    Just a short note of thanks for yet another interesting article.

    I get so excited when the email newsletters arrive telling me of new material on your website.

    And if David’s reading this (possible!) why not colaborate with Bjorn and put YOUR story into print. Just think of seeing this on the bookshelf, “Careful with that Ax, Bjorn”, the official gear guide of David Gilmour, written by Bjorn Riis, edited by David Gilmour. Anyone else like to see that in their Christmas stockings?

    Thanks again Bjorn.


    [Thanks for your support Paul! – Bjorn]

  17. Daniel Krause says:

    Nice to hear you have some new backings ;-)

    I just watched your vids on youtube…simply stunning how you seem to get “his” sound without any problem. Great playing too!!!

    I’ll be awaiting for the new articles/recordings/backings ;-)



    [Glad you liked the clips Daniel :) Thanks! – Bjorn]

  18. Leandro says:

    Hey Bjorn great you tube videos….I just watched all of them more 4 times each hehe….your tone on echoes is dead on pompeii…

    As a request….could you record the jammed version (travel sequence) of “on the run”?


    [Thanks Leandro! I’ll try to record some new videos soon. – Bjorn]

  19. Daniel Krause says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    It’s been a while since I was on this website….shame on me!

    This was a great read like always and it does really make some things a lot clearer. Thanks!

    For new articles…hmm…maybe…uhm…”Shine on” would be interesting indeed or maybe something like a “Learn to play like David Gilmour with Bjorn Riis live on Youtube”? ;-)

    By the way. Any new backingtracks in the making?


    P.S.: How’s that RT20 working for you? Does it get any use on stage or in the studio?

    [Thanks for stopping by Daniel! Glad you enjoyed the article. First off is Comf Numb then Shine On :) I have received a bunch of new backingtracks. Just need to sort them out… I mostly use the RT20 for Airbag. Works really great on some of our tunes. With Floyd I prefer the Mistress or a UniVibe. Cheers! – Bjorn]

  20. Mike says:

    Hey João, that wasn’t PF that got turned down- just David. The people at Glastonbury confirmed this.

    Anyhow, this article was totally worth the wait! I also just bought an MXR Carbon Copy. I’ll have it tomorrow, and I can’t wait to try it out!

    [Thanks Mike! Please let us know what you think of the Carbon Copy! – Bjorn]

  21. Kelton Gomes (Brazil) says:

    That’s exactly what we’re doing in a guitar forum here… lol
    Of course, someone is encharged of choosing the bt, he sent to everyone who was interested, then everybody recorded the solos in sync with the bt. The solos was sent back to guy who finnaly put them in a bigger bt. the result is pretty cool. ;-)

  22. Oscar says:

    Ok, Bjorn I think I know what you’re talking about. I remember on the Directors Cut on the b/w (interview) footage, David is playing the funky part of Echoes. I guess that might have been an overdub.

    [Yep, there are some guitar and vocal snippets filmed from the session. – Bjorn]

  23. Pavan says:

    funny how DG is apparently going to play AHM w/ Ron Geesin on the 15th, funny eh?

  24. Luciano says:

    Great article, as always, Bjorn.

    I must say that I went berserk to hear that David will take part at Ron Geesin Atom Heart Mother Concerts!!!

    I just love the AHM suite.

    Considering that Ron Geesin have always been good friends with Roger, and that Gilmour has been saying that he might accept some one-off reunion concert, I guess that we could live in hope….



    [Thanks Luciano! Yes, it’s great news. I can’t wait to hear how he treats the slide solo and the “funky part”. – Bjorn]

  25. Rafal says:

    [Great idea but it would be even more fun to have all you of you play together :) – Bjorn]

    Yeah, it’ll be an instant “Interstellar Overdrive” :)

    [The Great Gig in the Sky! – Bjorn]

  26. Kelton Gomes (Brazil) says:

    Bjorn, maybe we could do some kind of virtual jam here, have you ever thought about that? we’d choose a bt, play a few bars and share it… =]

    [Great idea but it would be even more fun to have all you of you play together :) – Bjorn]

  27. Kelton Gomes (Brazil) says:

    Hey João, in fact David asked for a gig for his own band, not for the Floyd…

  28. João J. Francisco says:

    Hey! I HEARD THAT DAVID GILMOUR ASKED IF PINK FLOYD COULD PERFORM IN Glastonbury! Michael Eavis said NO!!! Because the public is too young!… (This was taken from SUN magazine). :( :(

    …Well it makes me think a lot of things!… Am I in the right direction? Maybe we are lost in the past… It’s sad and and confuse…

    People want DJ’s, sampled shit, not guitars and melody!… :(

    [David asking if they could play??? Empty rumours I’d say… – Bjorn]

  29. Collin says:

    Very nice article. Long and in depth, like always. A great way to spend a summer’s day. Thank you very much.

    [Thanks Collin! – Bjorn]

  30. Leandro says:

    Cool article Bjorn!! Really interesting stuff to read….specially because the tone from that era is my favoutite one.

    The shooting of the rehearsal at the Royal Albert Hall in 1969 shows a telecaster with a weird pickguard…is that brown one from the Ummagumma album cover?


    [Yep, that’s the same guitar. – Bjorn]

  31. Pavan says:

    I’m a little surprised that you didn’t include the BBC Sessions as an example of his tone…
    I think those are among the best recordings you can get from this era….

    [There’s so many great recordings from this era and I wanted to use as many YouTube clips as possible. But I agree that the Atom Heart Mother Goes on the Road is a great bootleg indeed! – Bjorn]

  32. Sylvain says:

    You’ve done a great job these late weeks ! Thanks !
    About the early years, Gilmour is going to perform “Atom Heart Mother” in June which is a bit surprising ! I’m curious to hear how it’ll sound…

    [Yeah I saw that… Hopefully there will be a DVD. – Bjorn]

  33. Oscar says:

    I didn’t know about overdubs on Pompeii! Was the dubs done at Abbey Road? And was it really neccesary?

    [The overdubs were recorded in France while they were filming Careful and Set the Controls. There’s some b/w footage from the sessions on the new DVD. If you look closely at the concert you’ll see that most of the drums are dubbed and the vocals too. I’m not sure how much of David’s guitar is dubbed but I would imagine that most of the concert needed to be fixed. – Bjorn]

  34. Bill says:

    I’m sure I’ll go back to this article as soon as my TS9 stops cutting out.

    Maybe you could do a whole-album rundown like DSOTM or Animals? It’d probably take you ages though.

  35. bernhard says:

    you’re the man. very much lookin forward to sitting back reading, watching and listening!

    cheers, b.

    [Thanks! Hope you like it :) – Bjorn]

  36. Ørjan says:

    i would like to see an examination on Shine on You Crazy Diamond other than that im not sure of at the moment….

    [Maybe that’ll be the next one after Comf Numb. Thanks! – Bjorn]

  37. Ørjan says:

    So whats your next big article?

    [Any suggestions? A couple of reviews are up and I’m going to revise the Buyer’s Gear Guides, which is about time. There will be more examinations of songs… I have promised Comf Numb but are way behind schedule. – Bjorn]

  38. Ørjan says:

    Finaly part 2 is here!! cant wait to read it!!!

  39. Oscar says:

    Wot’s uh… The tone? Hahaha :D
    Great stuff Bjorn, I really love this site!

    [Well, I thought the title was only fitting :) Thanks! – Bjorn]

  40. Will Williams says:

    Awesome article Bjron!

    I can’t wait until the next one. Your site as really helped me in designing my own sound based off Gilmour’s. Keep the good stuff coming man.

    [Thanks Will! – Bjorn]